Thursday, April 16, 2020

Ward 5 Report: Coronavirus Update on Emancipation Day

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From: Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie <>
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2020 9:08 AM
Subject: Ward 5 Report: Coronavirus Update on Emancipation Day


I am proud of the residents I see working together and staying home to keep our city safe and flatten the curve of COVID-19. My thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of residents across the District who have been impacted by COVID-19. In particular, I send my sincerest condolences to the families of the 72 District residents that have lost their lives due to COVID-19 as reported on April 14.

Today, we recognize DC Emancipation Day, marking the anniversary of the Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 which ended slavery in the District of Columbia, freeing 3,100 individuals. Though DC Emancipation Day honors the ending of chattel slavery in the District of Columbia it also reminds us of America’s dark history. Our current public health emergency has shined a light again on the detrimental legacy of institutional racism in America. The health and economic disparities within the Black community have laid the foundation for the disproportionate impact we are now witnessing. While the African American community makes up 46% of the population in the District, it accounts for 75% of the COVID-19 related deaths (as reported on April 14).

In a letter to Mayor Bowser and my colleagues on March 23rd, I urged them to legislate and make policy decisions through a lens of racial equity, knowing full well the outsized impact COVID-19 would have on the Black community. We all must acknowledge the inequities that are currently contributing to the disproportionate impact and redouble our efforts to correct them.

Through the response and recovery, I have continued to push for resources for traditionally under-resourced communities and challenged public health officials to provide more data on what communities are being impacted the most. We have also discussed accessibility for testing, face coverings, and medical resources and attention.

As we make our way through this unprecedented event, I am encouraged by the residents I see stepping up and helping their communities. I encourage all residents to continue to stay safe, stay home, and we will get through this together.

In service,


For details and the latest updates on the District's response to coronavirus, visit

Coronavirus Response Update

The Ward 5 Office is Teleworking and Emancipation Day Status

  • The Ward 5 office is closed today, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in observance of DC Emancipation Day. 
  • The District government will also operate on a holiday schedule today. While some services will be affected, many District employees will continue serving to maintain essential District operations.
  • Throughout the public health emergency, Councilmember McDuffie and staff are teleworking and remain hard at work on behalf of Ward 5 residents. You can still call (202) 724-8028 or email any staff

Support #OurWard5 Small Businesses

Looking for ways to find and support small businesses in your community? The following are links to lists of businesses that are open and operating in a safe, often contact-free manner in Ward 5:

Legislative Update

On April 7, the Council of the District of Columbia held a virtual meeting and, among other measures, passed the COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, the second emergency measure in response to the public health emergency. With passage Councilmember McDuffie said:

"I am proud to have added provisions to support our Certified Business Enterprises (CBEs). Specifically, the bill increases the subcontracting amount for construction and non-construction contracts entered into during the public health emergency from 35% to 50%. This helps to ensure that the limited District funding will be targeted to residents of our City during this critical time.  I am also proud to include a provision that would allow the agency to provide contractors with advance payments.  

The emergency legislation supports workers, small businesses, and families by requiring mortgage servicers to defer mortgage payments for property owners experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 and requiring those savings be passed on to tenants. As Chairman of the Council committee with oversight of the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, I am proud to have included this language that will provide a needed and concrete reprieve for renters, owners and businesses alike during this time.

Previously, we prohibited terminating gas, water, and electrical services during the public health emergency. This legislation expands the prohibition on the disconnection of utility services to include cable and telecommunication services. It also authorizes the Office of the Attorney General to enforce violations of the provisions of the Council’s COVID-19 emergency legislation by merchants."

In the Community

Councilmember McDuffie has been keeping a busy schedule of engagement with Ward 5 residents and stakeholders throughout the District. Councilmember McDuffie has been hosting telephone conference call updates with Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, Civic/Citizen Association leaders, seniors, and the small business communitty. 

Councilmember McDuffie is proud to lend staff support partnering with Martha's Table to safely deliver meals to feed Ward 5 senior citizens. The team has come together one day a week for the last four weeks to provide meals and groceries for seniors in Ward 5.

Kenyan in the News

DCPS Learning at Home Videos

For elementary families, DCPS “Fun with Phonics” lessons are now available on TV every weekday from 9:30 to 11:00 am and then again from 1:00 to 2:30 pm These videos are a great way for your student to continue to develop early literacy skills and are available on Comcast (Channel 99), RCN (Channel 18), Verizon (Channel 12), or on the DCPS YouTube channel

2020 Census Update

If you haven’t completed the 2020 Census yet, then be on the lookout for a paper questionnaire coming in the mail. You still have time to #GetCountedDC and can send back the form in the mail at no cost! You can also complete the census now at or by calling 1-844-330-2020.

Vote by Mail in the June Primary

In light of the spread of COVID-19, the DC Board of Elections encourages ALL residents to request an absentee (mail-in) ballot for the June Primary. Voters can request mail-in ballots online HERE, via DCBOE's mobile app, by calling the DCBOE at (202) 727-2525 or (202) 741-5283, faxing (202) 347-2648, mailing or dropping off in person a ballot request form to the DC Board of Elections, 1015 Half Street SE, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20003.

In light of the spread of COVID-19, 20 vote centers will open throughout the District beginning May 22, 2020, and will remain open through June 2, 2020. Social distancing measures will be enforced at all vote centers. All locations will open from 8:30 am until 7 pm, including on Election Day. The usual 144 precincts will NOT open on Election Day.

WMATA Requesting Customers Wear Face Coverings

Metro is requesting that all customers follow recently updated CDC guidance by wearing a cloth face covering while traveling on Metro. Specifically, the use of cloth face coverings is strongly encouraged aboard all buses, trains, and MetroAccess vehicles, as well as in rail stations, bus terminals and other transit facilities.

The use of simple, homemade cloth face coverings can help slow the spread of the virus and help people who have the virus but don’t know it avoid transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings can be made from everyday household items at low cost.





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